Bathurst High School’s quest to pry the Astley Cup away from Orange High’s grip begins on Thursday when the two schools meet in the opening tie.
The title in the annual three-school competition has exchanged hands between Bathurst and Orange since 2013.
That’s a trend BHS’ Astley Cup organiser Josh Lawler hopes to continue for just another year as his school prepares to host the opening tie.
“We had our Astley Cup assembly the other day, where we had a lot of mascots dressing up and getting involved. We had the introduction of our teams as well,” he said.
“The school will be spectating across both days, something the students all very excited about.
“Having Orange come over here for the first tie will be a good measure for where our teams are at.”
The boys and girls soccer matches are normally towards the end of the tie but this year have been brought forward.
Both matches will be hard to predict, as the schools split the results in close 2016 contests. On that occasion the Bathurst boys went down 3-1 but the girls won 2-1.
Lawler said the change up of the program order for this year is bound to add another layer of excitement to the cup.
“We’ve changed things around, so instead of having netball, basketball and tennis straight away we’ve instead got the soccer games first up,” he said.
“Then we’re off to the Sportsground for the athletics and onto the tennis in the afternoon.
“The changes this year are good because it stops people going in with preconceived ideas of how the cup might play out. They just have to go in and play what’s in front of them.”
Orange ran away on the second day of late year’s tie to take a 451-349 win over Bathurst.
Bathurst are out to make it a closer contest in 2017.
“Our rugby league team in particular is looking pretty strong, but there’s a couple of our players who won’t be there because of state duties,” Lawler said.
“We’ve got a good basketball side and I’m expecting it to be close in the boys and girls soccer.
“When it comes to Orange they’re always strong in everything they do.”
Bathurst will enjoy a short break after the opening tie when Orange High School take on Dubbo Senior College next week.